Your Social Media Efforts Should Begin And End With Design In Mind
Take a look at the most successful enterprises on the Web. What do they have in common?
Design with function in mind!
And what is that function?
I don’t know … whatever it is you’d like to accomplish beyond the post click, or your 30 second youtube spot. Except don’t think of what you want to happen, think in terms of creating experiences for your visitors.
Design has never been more important, especially in the story telling and content creation aspects of Social Media marketing. The message simply has to reside somewhere, and though many have drank the kool-aid, I’m still of the opinion that you should have your own site or blog as the main source of your content, and not rely solely on social networks as your main content hub.
Let’s face it, unless you are Craigslist (the ugliest site I’ve ever seen), you need to pay attention to not only how your site looks but how it creates and enhances user experience. But does Craigslist need to look pretty? Probably not, it just needs to work … so its current design serves the function it provides, period.
I’ve lost count of how many business owners have told me that their site doesn’t really do much for them, – they have it because everyone has one these days. But that it doesn’t play a part in their overall marketing strategy.
Well if it looks like it’s 1999, I agree, it shouldn’t be part of ANY marketing strategy!
There could be a lot of reasons why a site is not performing. The design-function relationship is only one of them.
But what if the site were to be redesigned to beget function and usability, if it were to scale as far as content, deliver fresh and valuable information and because of this, rank well with the search engines, which is how you attract traffic and earn authority… Then it would be a different story.
Now you have a different animal in your hands, you’ve gone from a static hub of nothingness to a digital publishing and remarkability marketing machine!
The reason why most people with excellent business models and profitable ones I might add, have such crappy sites is not because they are lazy, broke, or ignorant of the web’s potential. The reason is that most of them don’t think of their website as a revenue source, they don’t believe that they can actually drive business through it and so there’s no effort in time or investment (very affordable these days btw to get something decent up) to add some digital style and function to their brands.
Here’s a very simple exercise:
Do a search for your business’s primary keywords – 1st Check out the organic results on the first page. Then take a look at paid search ads and check those sites as well.
The idea here is to get a whiff of the design scope and creativeness that some people are putting into their digital brands and presence.
Here is Google’s search basics page for more specific ways to conduct search queries.
When you look at a site, don’t just look for aesthetic elements. Ask yourself,
- How does it function?
- Where does the design take me?
- Do I get it right away or does it take me a while to figure it out what they are about?
- What functional elements are in play?
- How social is the site, is there a feeling of community?
- Is there a call to action?
- Do you see a trend in design based on types of businesses?
Learn from the good ones and toss the crappy ones. Read reports and books on usability and UX (user experience)
Looking at sites including your own, in a less paternalistic and more objective way will take some time, but is a great skill to learn in this Socio-Digital era.
Design should follow function, but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up your creative graphic design brain, it just means that design works better in that sequence.